It’s all in the start for John Zappia

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A good start for both a new season and his on-track efforts is what five times ANDRA Top Doorslammer champion John Zappia is chasing going into this weekend’s Australian Nationals at Sydney Dragway.

Zappia has made no secret of his desire to overtake Victor Bray’s legendary six straight titles in Top Doorslammer before eyeing off Gary Phillips’ overall record of seven consecutive professional championships.

“We just need to get a good start this year and put pressure on with our performances, rather than playing catch up through out the season,” he said. “We’ve learned how to run 5.70s and we now need to try and keep there as much as we can.”

Since winning the Top Doorslammer championship in June, Zappia’s off season has been spent competing at some Slamfest events at regional tracks, which provided him with some leads on a nagging tyre shake problem.

“We solved a problem in Darwin that we were having troubles with at both Sydney and Willowbank,” he said. “We were shaking the tyres even when we ran the 5.75 at Willowbank but we got away with it. On other runs I have had to pedal and that is how we have lost some races.”

Reaction times were also an area Zappia has cited as a concern, especially following a holeshot loss to Ben Bray in round one of the Fuchs Winternationals. His average for last season was a relatively slow 0.146 seconds.

“It’s half the car and half me,” he said. “That’s part of some of the changes that we are making to try and make the car leave harder, it’s a bit soft over the first ten feet so we need to make that area quicker which will help with the reaction times.”

Zappia is planning to test the Fuchs/Procomp Electronics Holden Monaro on Wednesday at Sydney Dragway, mainly as a precaution ahead of the first round of the championship.

“We want to make sure we have no hidden gremlins,” he said. “It’s not testing anything new as such, but we’ve fixed ten things and maybe created a gremlin we don’t know about. The motor and clutch is still the same, but we’ve changed the throttle cable and moved some fuel lines, so there may be something we might have overlooked.

“We’re still confident we could go in okay without testing but if we can say it’s all good then we should be good to go.”

The Australian Nationals begin this Friday at Sydney Dragway with the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship with the pros beginning qualifying on Saturday.

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